American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Results Recap: Nicks and Bruises [Updated]

heejun hanIf you’re going to get eliminated from American Idol, it might as well happen on the same week when five of the nine contestants received standing ovations from the judges.

Better still if you were present to witness Nicki Minaj (accompanied by the Old Navy Backup Dancers) lipsynching and boob-tucking her way through some kind of hootenanny that is Exhibit A in proving pretty much anyone can have a hit “song” at any time in these crazy (possible end) times.

And added bonus points if you managed to score some insightful, one-on-one mentoring from living legend Stevie Nicks, who swept in and out of the Idolverse like a gauzy scarf caught on a stiff spring breeze. (And she is dancing, away, from us now. She was just a wish. She was just — a wish.)

American Idol Recap: One-Night Standing

Before we get to the meat of this recap — how the results played out — a few thoughts and questions on the telecast:

American Idol: Advice (and Fantasy Set Lists!) for the Season 11 Top 9

* The Idol mansion looks pretty swank once you get past the front door, but from an architectural standpoint, the exterior looks like an East German office building circa 1974.

* Was Jennifer’s crazy blue and gray dress part of a scrap-fabric origami design challenge on J.Lo’s Drag Race? (I know, I know, it’s not an actual show, but it should be!)

* Any suspense about DeAndre’s possible elimination was washed away after Eric Benet took the stage to congratulate the soft-spoken teen on his rendition of “Sometimes I Cry.” I mean, there’s no way the show’s producers — or Benet’s publicist — would’ve have allowed the moment to happen if DeAndre had turned out to be the lowest vote-getter.

* I don’t want a heavy-metal “Ford Music Video,” I want a hair-metal theme for Top 7 week!

* Thank you, Jimmy Iovine, for pointing out that Stevie Nicks and Annie Lennox were in their mid-to-late 20s before they had their first hits, and by default, reminding the major-label cabal that a 28-year-old woman like Elise Testone could turn out to be a totally viable hitmaker.

* Kinda chilling the way Jimmy made it sound like there’s only room for one ballad-centric diva — Jessica or Hollie — in the late stages of the competition. What are the odds that he ever decides that viewers also need to choose sides in a Team Colton vs. Team Phillip fan war?

* I’m usually okay with Nicki Minaj’s outré brand of ridiculata, but on a show that demands pitch perfection of its contestants, shouldn’t musical guests be required to, y’know, actually sing their songs, not just rely on backing tracks when they run out of breath? That said, I did have a chuckle when the crazily attired rapper perkily offered her services as a guest judge in the coming weeks. Hey, she can’t be much more annoying than Randy.

* Was it just me, or did Joshua look like he was rocking a total look from the Thurston Howell III Collection?

* Interesting that Jimmy came down pretty hard on Colton and Joshua for letting their emotions take over and breaking down during their respective performances of “Everything” and “Without You.” Me? I’m a fan of the man-cry.

* Scotty McCreery sounded solid as ever on “Watertower Town,” though a lyric like “corn grows high/crime stays low” is so bad it wouldn’t even make it past the first round of that Jason Derulo/Coke “finish the lyrics” competition to which I paid almost no attention on Wednesday.

* Quote of the night, from Seacrest, right before Jimmy presented Scotty with a platinum record: “Jimmy is going to take a moment from being diabolical…”

* Saddest/funniest moment of Season 11: Skylar not being able to get her diminutive frame up onto the Silver Stool of Doom. (See! Nature abhors a raucous country gal landing in the Bottom 3!)

And with that, let’s talk results results…

Sent Immediately to Safety (in Order of Announcement)
Phillip Phillips
Elise Testone
Colton Dixon (No Seacreast fakeout!)
Joshua Ledet (Total Seacrest fakeout, and a spontaneous hug for BFF Hollie on the Silver Stools of Doom!)
Jessica Sanchez
DeAndre Brackensick

Bottom Three
Hollie Cavanagh
Heejun Han
Skylar Laine (are you FREAKIN KIDDING ME, AMERICA?)

First One Sent Back to Safety
Skylar Laine

Lowest Vote Getter
Heejun Han

Last-Chance Performance
Say what you want about Heejun — and I’ve said plenty — but his encore presentation of “A Song For You” was decidedly stronger than his Wednesday night version. Heejun showed his creme-fraiche tone to its best advantage, hitting every note with earnest emphasis, as if he knew that Steven Tyler’s axe was about to swing at any second. In a sense, this may have been the best possible outcome for Heejun, maximizing his exposure and extending America’s good will toward him — before he outlasted any of the eight superior vocalists in the competition.

And on that note, I turn things over to you.

Did the right person go home? Were you suprised to see Skylar in jeopardy? And what did you think of Nicki Minaj?

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